Fatigue as the main presenting symptom of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy: a study of 11 cases

Author(s): Boukhris S, Magy L, Gallouedec G, Khalil M, Couratier P, et al.

Abstract

Fatigue has been shown to be more frequent than previously thought in immune-mediated polyneuropathies. However, fatigue has not been reported as the main cause of referral in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) patients. Between January 2001 and December 2003, we investigated 11 patients referred for fatigue, for which we established a final diagnosis of CIDP. All patients had at least two clinical examinations including assessment of the fatigue severity scale (FSS) and one electrophysiological and laboratory work up. Additionally, 10 of the 11 patients had a nerve biopsy. There were 11 male patients. Mean age at onset was 53 +/- 11 years. Main cause of referral was fatigue in all patients. Additional symptoms included cramps (one case), distal paresthesias (six cases), limb pain (seven cases) and vasomotor disturbances (one case). Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis displayed a moderate increase in protein content in four patients. Electrophysiological analysis showed abnormalities in all patients. Among 11 patients, one fulfilled the American Academy of Neurology electrodiagnostic criteria for CIDP and three fulfilled the inflammatory neuropathy cause and treatment group or the Nicolas et al. criteria. In the eight remaining patients, a nerve biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of CIDP. Ten patients were treated, among which seven showed a significant improvement based on the FSS scale. This study shows that fatigue is a possible cause of referral for patients with CIDP and, like previous reports, emphasizes the lack of sensitivity of widely accepted electrophysiological criteria of CIDP. Long-term follow up of these patients is warranted to determine the prognosis of these minimal forms of CIDP and establish the best therapeutic strategy in such cases.

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